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Inherited Trust and Growth - Comment

Author

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  • Daniel Müller
  • Benno Torgler
  • Eric M. Uslaner

Abstract

Algan and Cahuc in "Inherited Trust and Growth" (AER, 2010) argue that "inherited trust" is a key factor in explaining growth rates across countries. They derive a measure of inherited trust by linking respondents’ "home countries" in the United States General Social Survey (1972-2004) and the 2000 wave of the World Values Survey. Algan and Cahuc then estimate trust levels for people born before 1910 (inherited trust in 1935) and afterwards (inherited trust in 2000). They show a strong link between economic growth rates and inherited trust. We do not challenge this result, but we do argue that: (1) the 2000 World Values Survey has many anomalous results; (2) the estimates for inherited trust in 1935 are mostly based upon tiny samples for most ethnic heritage groups in the General Social Survey; and (3) Algan and Cahuc’s findings are based upon two-tailed rather than one-tailed tests. We reestimate their model using the more reliable waves of the World Values Survey and find much weaker relationships between inherited trust in 1935 and trust in the home country. We also suggest caution in the overall measure of inherited trust in 1935.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Müller & Benno Torgler & Eric M. Uslaner, 2012. "Inherited Trust and Growth - Comment," CREMA Working Paper Series 2012-04, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  • Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2012-04
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
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    Cited by:

    1. Clemens, Michael & Pritchett, Lant, 2016. "The New Case for Migration Restrictions: An Assessment," Working Paper Series rwp16-054, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    2. Eric M. Uslaner, 2016. "A Reconsideration of Olivera’s “Changes in Inequality and Generalized Trust in Europe”," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(2), pages 723-729, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    inherited trust; generalized trust; US immigrants;

    JEL classification:

    • N31 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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